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FEMA Administrator Challenges Audience At TEDMED Conference: Find New Ways To Prepare For Disasters

Fugate Joins Entertainers, Educators, Researches and Entrepreneurs at Conference

FEMA News Desk
Contact: 202-646-3272
For Immediate Release
No.: HQ-10-210
October 29, 2010

SAN DIEGO — Yesterday, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Administrator Craig Fugate took the stage at the 2010 TEDMED Conference in San Diego, Calif., to announce a new public challenge to come up with creative ideas on how we can prepare communities before disaster strikes. Fugate posed the challenge to the audience as he discussed how responding to disasters takes an entire team, not just the U.S. government, and how we must plan for the entire community before disaster strikes. Fugate, a former volunteer fire-fighter and emergency medical technician, drew parallels between treating a sick patient and responding to a community devastated by a disaster. Although Fugate announced the new challenge at the TEDMED conference, FEMA is encouraging all members of the public to participate and submit their ideas by visiting

"As individuals, we are always thinking about staying healthy and protecting our bodies from disease, whether through vaccinations, doctor appointments, physical activity or other ways. Shouldn't we be thinking about protecting our communities in the same way?" said Fugate. "We are always encouraging individuals to visit and take the steps to be more prepared before disaster strikes, but I'm here to ask for your help and to recruit you for your ideas on how we can better prepare communities, entire communities, for disasters."

TEDMED is part of the TED conference series, which brings together speakers from a wide variety of fields, including business leaders, journalists, entertainment figures, scientists, artists and authors, to share their diverse experiences and how their fields intersect with health and medicine. Other speakers at this year's conference included CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Magician David Blaine, among others. For more information visit

"Since joining FEMA, Fugate has reached out to a wide variety of groups and organizations, to expand what he refers to as the "emergency management team." He has met with leaders representing Wal-Mart, Target, AT&T, Family Dollar, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, National Retail Foundation and others to improve disaster planning and coordination. Earlier this year, FEMA put together the first ever Technology Sector Day, as a forum to bring government and key technology innovators together to discuss how to work better together and how to leverage technology to improve the way FEMA does business. Participants included tech giants such as Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Verizon and others.

FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.